Feeling helpless and hopeless due to a water dilemma is not applicable only to people in Africa, Haiti, India and other parts of the world. Right here in the United States, there are millions of people who are in crisis due to lack of clean water.
In South Carolina—Deanna Miller Berry, founder of Denmark Citizens for Clean Water, helps supply the community with clean water—instead of the brown, smelly liquid laced with HaloSan, a pesticide meant to kill bacteria—that has been sloshing out of the taps in a number of homes for more than a decade. She delivers tanks and pays the monthly water costs—sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

Virginia Tech civil engineering Professor Marc Edwards, exposed the unsafe lead levels in the water in Flint, Michigan, and helped bring national attention to the issue. Local officials are dealing with the community’s access to clean drinking water years after large amounts of lead were detected. A state of emergency was declared and water that was shut off ordered reconnected.
Not far from the Stroudsburgs in Newark, NJ—lead-contaminated water has impacted the wellness of its residents for years—while city officials denied there was a problem. In 2018, the New York Times reported an abrupt change of course by officials—after a new study confirmed that lead was indeed in the water at an alarmingly high rate. Officials started handing out water filters to some residents and the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that the city advise residents to “use bottled water for drinking and cooking”. The Newark Water Coalition also provided hundreds of gallons of water and filters at its distribution sites.
Pennsylvania also has a long history of water contamination from drilling and fracking. Many families have found themselves no longer able to drink their water, shower, or even wash dishes. In December, 2016, a six-year study from the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed many instances of water contamination in Pennsylvania. The EPA noted that water can be contaminated in many ways—including spills, well integrity failures, well cementing failures below ground, leaks, and complications with waste disposal.

Experts say that contaminated water isn’t confined to a few communities or states in the US. A 2018 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that in any given year from 1982 to 2015, nearly 45 million US residents were accessing water that violated health standards.
March is Rotary’s Water and Sanitation Month. Beyond this month—let us put our heads and hands together to also help those in our own backyard.
All the Best…
President Cleo MeriAbut Jarvis